Shows

DECEMBER 2016: AIDING & ABETTING

Will 2016 Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty Sellout and drive a bargain, or will memoirist and chef Gabrielle Hamilton cook up an alibi in the nick of time? Novelist and National Book Award nominee Lydia Millett is set to play havoc with the jury, while author and Olympic fencer Richard Cohen demonstrates his greatest defense.

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NOVEMBER 2016: RAZOR’S EDGE

Poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander will give us The Light of the World while National Book Award winner Phil Klay reveals the writer’s secret weapon. Best-selling author James Rebanks will give us The Shepherd’s View and Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Madeleine Thien will show us both sides of the blade.

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SEPTEMBER 2016​: THIS IS NOT THE END

Discover not one, not two, but Thirteen Ways of Looking with award-winning novelist Colum McCann. Explore the art of life with biographer and historian Ruth Scurr. Hit the high notes with Queen of the Night author Alexander Chee. And rediscover the meaning of binge-watching with Sense8 and Bablyon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski.

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JUNE 2016: WHEN STRANGERS MEET

Embrace your inner étranger with novelist and essayist Geoff Dyer while exploring life “On the Couch” with novelist Ayana Mathis and special guest host Jessica Strand. For poet-essayist Chris Abani, it may well be written all over The Face, but an encounter with poet-critic Stephen Burt proves that a close call with nonsense can also be a dinner date with the profound. As Frank Sinatra might say: doo-be-doo-be-don’t miss it.

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APRIL 2016: WHILE THE MUSIC LASTS

Let’s be Frank: to miss journalist and filmmaker Jon Ronson would alone be cause for public shame. But we also have theoretical physicist Stephon Alexander putting the jazz back in the cosmos and journalist Bryan Burrough on the sounds of the underground. And before we’re done, we’re changing our major to Tony Award-winning Fun Home playwright Lisa Kron. Being Seriously Entertaining is our forte – join us at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater for a splendidly uncommon time.

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MARCH 2016: IT’S NOT YOU

For George Hodgman, if it’s not one thing it’s a mother — so come along with this best-selling memoirist for a life-changing trip to Bettyville. Take a revelatory journey through Negroland with Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and memoirist Margo Jefferson, and a walk on the wild side with The Danish Girl author David Ebershoff. Finally, we call in the VICE squad and practice Drawing Blood with artist and memoirist Molly Crabapple. And all of this from the safety and comfort of the House of SpeakEasy’s brand spanking new home in Joe’s Pub. Who’d dare miss out? It’s Not You.

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FEBRUARY 2016: I’LL HAVE ANOTHER

Celebrate two glorious years of New York’s #1 literary cabaret with six shining stars from the cultural firmament.

House of SpeakEasy welcomes special guest host Salman Rushdie and YOU to its second-birthday gala on February 1. You can’t get enough of bestselling nonfiction powerhouse Erik Larson and nor can we. We’d go Bridge or Tunnel to see Tony Award-winning playwright and actress Sarah Jones, and turn 360 for novelist and radio host Kurt Andersen. Are we sated? I’ll Have Another, we cry: the return of Scotland’s finest and SpeakEasy legend Irvine Welsh will do just nicely. But fear not these terrible pawns: Garry Kasparov will keep us in check.

I’ll Have Another — will you?

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NOVEMBER 2015: HAPPY NOW

Say aloha to the Paradise of the Pacific with Susanna Moore and feel your troubles slip away. If it’s the Daydreams of Angels that interest you, then sure — we’ve got novelist Heather O’Neill in the mix. Oh I see, it’s poetry? Then you’ll be more than happy with Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa. Thanks to physicist Lisa Randall, in fact, we’ve got everything from dark matter to the dinosaurs. We’ve even got humorist Annabelle Gurwitch — don’t tell us that’s not better than dinner and a movie! Happy Now?!

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SEPTEMBER 2015: ALTERED STATES

“We’re going to get very intimate very quickly,” promised the evening’s first speaker, Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright, at the House of SpeakEasy’s Altered States at New York’s City Winery on September 22. And he wasn’t wrong. In the company of Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Joe Klein, Emma Sky and Kelly Carlin, SpeakEasy’s latest #SeriouslyEntertaining foray into the world of literary cabaret got up close and personal with obscure Ken Russell movies, Donald Trump’s dangerous experiment in democracy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the home life of a comedy legend.

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JUNE 2015: SUMMERTIME BLUES

We don’t believe in fate at the House of SpeakEasy but there was something of the pathetic fallacy in last week’s show, Summertime Blues, falling as it did at the start of a gloomily tropical week in New York City. Fortunately, we had all the right ingredients to dispel any seasonal mooning. Our spring/summer finale featured Sarah LewisRebecca Newberger GoldsteinIrvine Welsh, Laura Michelle Kelly, Edward Hirsch, and Steven Pinker, plus a whole lotta painting, philosophy, burger-flipping, poetry, and first dates.

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APRIL 2015: ONE SIMPLE RULE

After hearing from our six guest writers in April on the subject “One Simple Rule”, you might think we’d have some pretty solid advice for you. We don’t. Write what you know? Well, sometimes it’s best not to. Everyone should know CPR? Granted; hard to argue. Back up your work? Phew, yes, we’d all have saved ourselves some stress by following that one. Break all of the rules, always? We don’t like to be too prescriptive here… Well, we’ll leave you to judge, as you enjoy the wit and wisdom of Elif Shafak, Tom Rob Smith, Amber Tamblyn, Lisa Robinson, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Beau Willimon.

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MARCH 2015: NO RETURN

The Shroud of Turin. An Ohio ghost story. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Basketball with Xenophon and Achilles. Things that should or shouldn’t be done with a Philadelphia Eagles hat. Just five of the things that aliens landing at City Winery last Monday might have taken away from their close encounter with humanity. The House of SpeakEasy welcomed six more amazing writers to discuss the theme No Return: best-selling horrorist R.L. Stine, poet A.E. Stallings, author Ben Yagoda, novelist Ian Caldwell, and comedy writer Meredith Scardino. Special guest host Joan As Policewoman was the quizmaster for this month’s Tip of My Tongue competition.

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JANUARY 2015 GALA: RUNNIN’ WILD

Undeterred by the Snowpocalypse-that-in-any-case-wasn’t, crowds flocked to City Winery on January 28 to celebrate the House of SpeakEasy‘s first birthday and bless its second year of existence. Our guests — Simon Doonan, Stephen Lang, Jim Dale, Susan Fales-Hill, Susan Minot, P.J. O’Rourke, and Dan Stevens — told us tales of their derring-do and their derring-don’ts as we careered between subjects including the Baby Boom, The Devil Wears Prada, what Shakespeare did for us, and the erotic undercurrents of Downton Abbey.

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November 2014: No Satisfaction

In a triumphant end to a great first year, the House of SpeakEasy brought you six more writers and performers to muse on the subject No Satisfaction. Writer and comedian Ruby Wax taught us to master our minds; author and journalist Philip Gourevitch examined no-win situations in Rwanda and Abu Ghraib; writer Hooman Majd wondered if there really is no place like home;  Christopher Mason returned to break the internet with a fabulous song about Kim Kardashian; future Oscar-winning screenwriter Graham Moore stopped by to talk genius; and Phineas and Ferb creator Dan Povenmire espoused the benefits of delayed satisfaction in comedy. Last but in many ways not, Hari Dhillon was the quizmaster for The Tip of My Tongue.

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September 2014: Inside the Lie

As an amber-violet sunset spread across a CinemaScope sky to the west of Manhattan, the House of SpeakEasy returned to City Winery for the inaugural show of its fall season. Almost three hundred guests gathered to listen, to laugh, to share, and to refill their glasses as six writers — Marcelo GleiserNatalie HaynesJohn GuareGary ShteyngartGail Sheehy, and Andrew Solomon — took to the stage to ponder this month’s theme, Inside the Lie. This month’s guest stars? Copernicus, RFK, Oedipus, Sophia Loren’s panties, an uncommon family set-up, a Bavarian porn star…

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June 2014: Falling for Perfection

The curtain rose on a raucous final edition of the House of SpeakEasy’s inaugural “Seriously Entertaining” series Monday, June 23 at City Winery NYC. There were cartoons and Muppets, breast pumps and seaside sex scenes, moonlight and music and love and romance. Our guests — seven of them; our biggest line-up yet — made us swoon, made us cry, made us laugh, made us beg for one more glass of wine. Featuring: New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff; playwright and novelist Adam Rapp; Barnard College president and writer Debora Spar; satirical songwriter Christopher Mason; novelist Emma Straub; poet Jeffrey McDaniel; and Daily Show head writer Elliott Kalan.

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May 2014: The Ink Runs Dry

Borgesian understatement, Nixonian analysis, Putinian philosophy, and a rediscovered Kodak disc camera. The ink, the wine, and the laughs were all flowing at Tuesday May 20th’s Seriously Entertaining show as another smashing line-up of writing talent mused aloud on the creative process and the terror that one day the ink might just dry up altogether. Writers featured: historian Amanda Vaill; journalist and author Jonathan Alter; satirical songwriter Christopher Mason; author David Gilbert; and author and poet Jay Parini.

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April 2014: In Case of Emergency

House of SpeakEasy’s April show, “In Case of Emergency” was a Seriously Entertaining production at NYC’s City Winery featuring the saving powers of Daniel Bergner, J.D. McClatchy, Amor Towles, Maggie Shipstead and Leonard Lopate.

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March 2014: Are you for Sale?

“Are You For Sale?” was another Seriously Entertaining production featuring the salesmanship of writer Susan Cheever, author Jeff Kinney, journalist Michael Riedel, Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis, novelist Kate Mosse and composer Michael Friedman.

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February 2014: This Is Not a Man

“This Is Not A Man” was a Seriously Entertaining production featuring the wit and wonder of author Dana Vachon, comedian Steve Coogan, novelist Susan Minot, Hollywood superstar Uma Thurman, writer Tom Reiss and musician Anton Sword.

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January 2014: Plays With Matches

House of SpeakEasy’s sold-out gala evening was Seriously Entertaining, drawing a 380-strong NYC crowd with glamour and gravitas, to hear a star-studded line-up riff on the evening’s theme: Plays with Matches. Featuring: comedian Andy Borowitz; writer and critic Adam Gopnik; author Susan Orlean; historian and writer Simon Winchester; Hollywood superstar Uma Thurman; and singer-songwriter Dar Williams.

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